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Athens News Agency: News in English, 08-10-10

Athens News Agency: News in English Directory - Previous Article - Next Article

From: The Athens News Agency at <>


  • [01] Greek, Maltese PMs discuss credit crisis, migration

  • [01] Greek, Maltese PMs discuss credit crisis, migration

    Ways of dealing with the international financial crisis and illegal migration in the Mediterranean dominated talks in Valletta on Friday between visiting Greek Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis and Malta Premier Lawrence Gonzi.

    In statements after the meeting, both premiers underlined their concern over repercussions of the global financial crisis, stressing the need for a radical response on all levels by governments and financial institutions.

    Karamanlis called for coordinated action by European Union countries, urging them to use all means at their disposal to deal with the crisis, and repeated that the Greek government has taken steps to guarantee deposits in Greek banks.

    The Greek premier also sent a message to citizens in Greece, stressing that the government guarantees their entire savings deposits and emphasising that the government's goal was to reduce the impact of the crisis on households.

    Karamanlis additionally stressed the need for courage and responsibility in the face of the crisis, so that measures might be taken to support and shield the economy and family incomes.

    Asked if he feared the possibility of a recession, the prime minister underlined the need to remain calm and think clearly, while predicting that the impact of the crisis was only now about to become apparent.

    Karamanlis noted that the crisis had coincided with a rise in oil prices and raw materials and reported that the EU growth rate was falling while unemployment levels throughout Europe were rising.

    At the same time, he pointed to a move by the European Central Bank to cut interest rates by half a percentage point and underlined that European citizens must stay calm and maintain their confidence in the financial system.

    Emphasising the need to take all necessary action to deal with the crisis, he also expressed a belief that the European financial system was safe:

    "There is an interdependence of economies but we are not seeing the wild swings seen in the United States," he stressed.

    According to Malta's prime minister, it was a time for "difficult and unpopular decisions that would help keep the economy strong and competitive."

    While he agreed on the need for coordinated action on a European level, he stressed that every country must then adopt its own policy for dealing with the crisis.

    In terms of tackling illegal migration, Karamanlis reiterated his support for the Treaty against illegal migration and described this as "the first but not the last step" in building up the necessary common and coordinated approach to the problems by the European Union.

    He emphasised the need to reinforce policing of European external borders, through which illegal immigrants entered the EU, noting that this was a problem that affected all of Europe, and repeated a Greek proposal for creating a European coast guard to patrol EU sea borders.

    Other issues discussed during the meeting were cooperation in the tourism sector and joint action in an EU framework for an integrated policy for islands.

    Karamanlis then briefed Gonzi on Greece's positions on foreign policy issues, like the Cyprus problem, and the dispute over the name of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), as well as the latest developments in the Middle East peace process.

    Following his meeting with Gonzi, the Greek premier was received by Malta's President Edward Fenech-Adami and attended a reception given in his honour.

    On Friday afternoon, Karamanlis was scheduled to visit the mideval town of Mdina, the island's old capital, and to meet the head of Malta's main opposition party, while on Friday evening he will be guest of honour at a dinner held by Malta's prime minister.

    He is to return to Athens on Saturday.

    Caption: Malta Prime Minister Lawrence Gonzi (L) welcomes his Greek counterpart Costas Karamanlis (R) upon the latter's arrival for talks at the Malta premier's Auberge de Castille Office in Valletta, Malta, 10 October 2008. ANA-MPA / EPA / KARL AZZOPARDI

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